Southern Inland’s revamped representative program has been met with a healthy dose of player interest.
More than 60 players across the zone registered interest in playing at a higher level with 30 individuals turning up to last Saturday’s trial session at Conolly Rugby Complex.
Southern Inland coach Nick McCarthy was impressed with the numbers and diversity of clubs represented.
“I thought it was really good actually,” McCarthy said.
“We had 30 players arrive on Saturday and 65 in total have put their names down and are keen to be involved.
“We knew we weren’t going to get everyone seeing as though it’s so close to Christmas but I’m pretty happy with the turnout.
“Four of those players came across from Deniliquin as well which is exactly what we’re trying to get out of this program – guys getting a chance to play at a higher level.”
McCarthy said the players who showed up were put through their paces with a series of physical tests and match scenarios.
“It wasn’t so much a training as much as a testing session.”
Basically, we just want to get an understanding of what level these guys are at before we start developing the program and get stuck into training.Nick McCarthy
“We did a lot of fitness work to gauge where players were at and also looked at a lot of core skills and decision making.”
With the representative program yet to fully form, McCarthy is busying himself behind the scenes and wants to get off on the right foot.
A prospective trial match is being looked at as early as March and the coach has high hopes for the Brumbies Provincial Tournament in June.
“We’ll be looking at getting started towards the end of February if possible … but that’s reliant on how our trial match comes along,” McCarthy said.
“We’re trying to organise something with a John I Dent Cup side from Canberra on March 23 and there’s a few other things in the pipeline as well.
“I know the guys over at Brumbies are working really hard at the moment too.
“There’s still plenty to get through though and a lot will come down to the clubs here ratifying the draw we’ve put to them.”
Further proposals include a return to the traditional City-Country fixture.